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Life Cycle Assessment Services

Do you require a life cycle assessment for a product or service? Please contact us for a quotation.

A Life Cycle Assessment consists of a thorough study of a products manufacture, use, and disposal in an attempt to quantify it environmental impact, or at least compare it to that of a similar product or method of doing the same thing.

For example you may wish to know which dishwasher detergent has the lowest environmental impact which would be a handy thing if your laundry company was operating under ISO 14001 or EMAS. You could show that you were making an improvement. If that same laundry had a discharge to water course the LCA of two differing laundry detergents might also show which would improve the quality of your discharge effluent.

Way back in 1970s people were trying to come up with a way of comparing two products, to find which would have the lower environmental impact. This is useful pre-production (development) as well as post production. One of the first pioneers of Life Cycle Assessment was the Midwest Research Institute, funded by Coca Cola.


The term cradle to grave is often heard when discussing Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), in your minds eye you start to form the image of  straight line with a beginning and and end but in reality Life Cycle Assessment is more a fragmented circle . . . with legs. Not as neat and tidy as you might hope for.

This is due to the often intermingled processes that are involved in a product's (or service's) life cycle for example, when making bread large amounts of heat are used to bake the bread, and it would be all too easy to prescribe impact to the creation of that heat. But in reality waste heat may be piped next-door to heat a large office complex (district heating). So waste is not always waste, and energy consumption is not always tied to the one product or service you may be observing.

So let us now explore the different types of LCA, and there applications.

Please choose a link from below to learn more about Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

Image: Mr3641 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Life Cycle Assessment Pages & Posts


Amazon Climate Pledge Friendly


Past Life Cycle Projects on Blog


Carbon Footprinting


Envirodec EPD


Whole Life Carbon Assessment (WLCA) Reports

What is an Inventory within the context of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)?

In inventory is the part of the Life Cycle Assessment where you put all of your hard data used to formulate the products impacts. In the inventory you list all of your "ingredients", and the volumes which are used in your defined functional unit.

In this way we can build up a picture of the impact of our products / services, in this case a beet root. I made these number up so please don't use them for anything.

inventory example life cycle assessment


Types of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Types of life cycle assessment are largely defined by the resources available to conduct the study, also the intended outcome and the product or service being studied.

Qualitative Life Cycle Assessment

This method uses a rapid method of qualitative ideas to quickly establish which products and services might present best options. This method is useful when:

This method is fine for choosing between products with obvious differences in most cases it is necessary and advisable to conduct;

Image result for life cycle assessment wikimedia




Quantitative Life Cycle Assessment

A quantitative Life Cycle Assessment can be used to compare two products, or consider one product on its own. It is particularly suited to;

-Product Development

-To prove adherence to KPIs

-To Develop Eco Labels

-Used to underpin EPD (Environmental Product Declaration)

Where can I get the information required for a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

If you wish to carry out an accurate an meaningful life cycle analysis you must have complete access to the records associated with the products manufacture. Some of this information may be difficult to get hold of and may require the installation of sub meters for water and electricity, and access to records which normally companies would normally not make available such as formulae of additives and lists of ingredients complete with suppliers.

In recent years there are various data bases that have sprung up to answer the need of the average consultant looking to carry out an LCA there are some excellent data bases available from Oxford University's ECI. And there are tens of other European initiatives which can provide data for standard unit volumes / weights of input materials.

For example below is shown an extract from Oxford University's ECI data base.

ECI is involved in a wide range of research projects that address the impacts of climate change, the possibilities for adaptation, the evolution of climate policy and the communication of climate change data and issues to society.

These webpages highlight the ECI’s contribution to global climate change research through many funded projects, programs, fellowships, international collaborations and postgraduate research.




What is the Basic Methodology of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

When we are taking the first steps towards conducting an LCA we should perhaps take the time to assessable a table like the one below.

Column 1 - Question you may ask to try and establish the life cycle of a product or service.

Column 2 - "Ingredients" & Actions of the Product Consumes or Creates

Column 3 - Categorization of Impacts - For example use of fossil fuels and methane emission can both be categorized as ecological impacts because they both cause global warming. In this instance we will consider the life cycle of a Beetroot.

Now in the above table the Impact Categories for the Life Cycle Analysis have been placed in there ultimate groups. But for example "resource Use" as an Impact Category would take in to account Energy, Materials, Water and Land (but this depends on what life cycle assessment guidance you follow)

phases of life cycle table


Reading Material & Books on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Hitchhikers Guide to LCA

Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Goods and Services: An Input-Output Approach by Chris T. Hendrickson, Dr. Lester B. Lave PhD and H. Scott Matthews

Life Cycle Assessment in the Built Environment by Robert Crawford

Life-Cycle Assessment: Inventory Guidelines and Principles: Inventory Guidelines and Priniples by Battelle Memorial In and Mary Ann Curran

How Bad Are Bananas? (Great for a Starting Point)